Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Look No Further, Deal Garden is HERE.

Ladies and gentleman,
The CEDAR VALLEY will no longer be ignored!  You've been exposed to sites like LivingSocial and Groupon, but look no further DealGarden has turned their attention to the Cedar Valley.  Usually the bigger metropolitan areas get all of the attention focused around local businesses, but DealGarden has taken a new approach to a shopping website that offers daily deals on the best local products, services, and events. 
Let me tell you a little about my experience with how I became aware of DealGarden's offerings.  I first saw DealGarden on Twitter and became instantly interested.  I started following them on Twitter and took a look at their website to see what deals they had going.  I was then contacted by Mitch Treu to talk a little bit more about what DealGarden's goals were and a little background about their startup.  So, #unidigadv this whole creating a personal brand thing really works! 

DealGarden is extremely similar to these other larger social shopping websites, but they have a very different approach.  DealGarden's niche is smaller markets.  This means, they have little to no competition with these bigger establishments who have much higher subscriber and customer aquisition costs.  Here, take a look for yourself.


Mitch Treu, one of the partners in the company is very excited about the Cedar Valley market and is spending countless hours trying to get the best deals for residents in the area.  DealGarden is active on Twitter and Facebook as well.

This is a very cool and creative startup, with a very young and intelligent crew.  Keep your eyes open for the great deals they promote day in and day out. 

Here are a couple more articles highlighting DealGarden and everything they have to offer -- 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Branding in a New Age


This past Friday 12 others and myself attended the 4th Annual AMA UW-Whitewate Regional Conference.  I was surrounded with Packer Fans, cheese, and branding for almost 48 hours straight.  The theme for the conference was "Branding in a New Age."  Some of the speakers included Michelle Palubicki, marketing manager for the Green Bay Packers, Erick Soderstrom, VP of Brand Management and Advertising for AT&T, and Matt Ebert from Apple.

The most interesting speaker had to be the Matt Ebert from Apple.  He talked about how part of their marketing strategy is to keep everything hush-hush, therefore their competitors are always on their feet and wondering what the next great creation from Apple will be.  He also mentioned how this gives Apple a large amount of free publicity and hype from new products they may or may not be launching soon.  Matt also talked about the downfall of Apple in the 90's.  It was news to me that Jobs, yes Steve Jobs one of the founders, was let go of the company.  Matt described the culture of the company and how without Jobs, the company had little direction and focus.  The one thing Matt wanted us to take away from his presentation was that Apple's brand strategy is all about one thing: INNOVATION. Here are a few of Apple's most recent retail outlets that Matt shared with us.  These are beyond amazing, creative, and classic Apple for ya. 

Did you know??? -- ALL Apple stores are composed of only 3 materials: stainless steel, glass, and wood.


Monday, October 31, 2011

Taste of a Foodie

Ever since I went away to college, I've become increasingly interested in food.  It's almost an infatuation.  I am always watching food network, reading food blogs, trying new recipes, etc.  This got me thinking about how popular food blogs have become.

Blogs have gained viability and credibility, but the sharp rise in popularity of food blogs has to do with sense of community.  Who doesn't love talking about food?  Sharing recipes and creative ideas has given these "Floggers" (term coined by myself), a sense of pride.

With this increase in interest, competition increases dramatically.  Words alone are not cutting it.  Pictures and video are also accompanying these descriptive entries.  

So how does this correspond with small businesses?  Well, many of these credible and faithful "Floggers" are being asked by restaurants to come in and try their food (free of charge) and then write about it in their flog.  However, this type of behavior has been seen as unethical in the past. 

If a flog becomes popular enough, it could turn into a full time business for that individual.  How nifty is that? Being paid for what you've been doing free of charge? --Sign me up.

A list of my favorite Flogs:
2. Annie's Eats
3. smitten kitchen
Hungry? Enjoy these Halloween finds, provided by some of my favorite Flogs! 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


This last summer I was introduced to a new tool for entrepreneurs in Iowa.  MyEntre.net is leveraging the intellectual capacity and practical experience of faculty, staff and students, the University of Northern Iowa’s Business and Community Services (BCS) division is dedicated to meeting the needs of communities and entrepreneurs throughout Iowa. Within BCS, the Regional Business Center (RBC) focuses upon serving entrepreneurs in Iowa with a wide array of technology driven services, incubation and technical assistance.

MyEntre.net offers webinars, interactive communication, and technical assistance.

MyEntre.net first contact with me was through Twitter.  This was the first time I had ever had a company directly contact me through this medium.  I was surprised that it was a local, Iowa based service.  Here is a short clip on what MyEntre.net is all about.

Therefore, if you are at all interested in entrepreneurship look around at all the resources the Cedar Valley has to offer.  They also have a Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Youtube account so check them out!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Stay Connected.

In order for a small business to thrive in the digital world they need to stay connected with the world around them.  One of many mistakes small businesses will make when entering the digital/social media world is not producing relevant and useful content for their audience.  A businesses cannot only share information about their products, new innovations, etc., they must give the viewer additional information.

Therefore, businesses must do their research. Yes, I said it research.  That horrible, not so fun activity that will take business folk back to their college days. Businesses need to keep up with their always changing environment and give their audience valuable media. Flowtown has created a list of 25 social media blogs small businesses should be checking in with on a weekly, if not daily basis.  I will highlight one of my favorites I checked out.

1. Brian Solis: Solis, a digital analyst, sociologist, and futurist, has studied and influenced the effects of emerging media on business, marketing, publishing, and culture. His current book, Engage, is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to build and measure success in the social web.  What I like about Solis' blog is the constant updates about social media news.  If there is any confusion about any social media content/updates, Solis is right there to inform business leaders.  Here is a short snip-it of Solis speaking about the idea of relationships vs. ideas.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

It's All in the image!

It's been a very busy week, so all I'm going to do is give you an image.  Look and Learn is what I like to call it :) I know it's big, but it is a great look into what small businesses are actually out there doing.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Is Google Taking Over the World?

 Before you start reading let me forewarn you, I am in no way, shape, or form against Google.  This is simply a post to get you thinking and to drive conversation.

some_textI know many people, including myself, have turned the word GOOGLE into a verb.  I am not "searching" the web, I am Googling, the web.  This made me realize how dependant many individuals are on Google.  I'm not saying this is a terrible thing, but is Google's presence monopolistic?   FairSearch (www.FairSearch.org) was brought to my attention and there is some very interesting material on the site.  Here's their About Us section:

FairSearch.org is a group of businesses and organizations united to promote a healthy Internet future, where economic growth is driven by competition, transparency and innovation in search verticals and online services. We believe in enforcement of existing laws to prevent dominant companies from engaging in anticompetitive behavior and to protect investment and choice across the Internet ecosystem.

Until I dug around this site a little bit, I never realized the impact Google was having on my life.

Like I've mentioned in an earlier post, my Dad is a small business owner.  I read an article about how Google has the power and ability to change its ranking of your site without warning, explanation, or any sort of appeals process.  This is scary for ANY small business owner.  Many small businesses do not have the means to compete with other large companies for these top rated spots.  Here's the link to the article, you should give it a look:

So, what do you think?